Sure, Randy’s pissed at turning blind at 22, in two short weeks, due to a mysterious neurological disease, and he initially felt sorry for himself - who wouldn’t - but he now doesn’t view himself as handicapped, and proves that through athletic adventures most of us don’t have the guts to think about, let alone the balls to try. He candidly admits he wishes he could see. But he’s more than making the best of a situation, a situation unfairly thrust upon him.
Randy’s motto: I see no obstacles. (Though he probably wouldn’t have been afraid of the heights in the Mudder.) Catchy and cute, but essential to his essence. He believes his way of looking at things, seeing opportunities instead of obstacles, is the way we should all go. Rather than largely lounging around he’s living large. He doesn’t idle, he incites. And excites.
Of course he may be blind but he’s not stupid. He realizes that he needs supports. For the Tough Mudder torture test, 20 obstacles over a 10 mile maelstrom, he had a Team Randy group helping him along, along with booming chants of “Randy, Randy” from others...But without his slim, strong body he could not even contemplate such an undertaking. Watching him, hands completely extended over his head, gripping one handle, and using his torso to swing his legs out, and then back, to get to the next rung, is an exhibition of complete determination. Boy, does he have “it.”
For his climbing quests, like tackling the biggest and meanest mountain in New Hampshire, Mount Washington, similarly, he’s not trying to be a hero (though he is stubborn.) He takes it slow. He wants to be safe and not put himself, or others, at unnecessary risk. His dog, Quinn, gives him “tree warnings.” Good god, it’s not only footholds, but what stands smack straight ahead, that has to be accounted for. One of the guides says the physical exertion Randy goes through to climb is triple what others put out.
And in the WINTER of 2012 he put out, unbelievably so. He climbed all 48 mountains in New Hampshire, higher than 4,000 feet. I shoveled the driveway...
Oh, forget to mention the other colossal catastrophe that whammed Randy along the way. As if being robbed of sight wasn’t awful enough, when he turned 39 that same, sinister neurological malady robbed him of walking. He was wheelchair bound. At this point most would be oozing self pity on the way to suicide, but he worked to get out of that wheelchair. It took two years. (Let’s not try to figure out why he’s been savaged with these inexplicable ailments, we’d only wrap our heads around a telephone pole, trying to rationalize it all.)
So Randy Pierce has courage, fortitude, guts, moxie – yet these words seem too weak to define dealing with sheer terror that comes from living in the dark. I know this. I closed my eyes for 20 seconds and freaked.
Pierce is inspirational. His acts speak volumes. And he's well spoken and can succinctly summarize his thought processes behind his actions. He's easy to understand on an intellectual level, even if nearly impossible to follow on a physical one.
When he’s not facing arduous barriers testing mind and body, he’s helped create an organization: 2020VisionQuest. Its goal is to help others reach their dreams through “...outreach, education, and support.”
With all the miscreants, publicity hounds, mischief makers and general screw-up sorts amongst us, it’s refreshing to have this guy as a role model. He may be going a little overboard with his choices, but at least he’s going. If we emulate only half of what he’s doing, in whatever shape or form, we could consider our lives’ well lived.
Finally, let’s close with Pierce’s piercing insight:
“And vision is always going to be way more important than sight.”
Let’s open our minds and hearts to his philosophy. That would be a sight surely, he’d like to see